Reform, Do Not Abandon the United Nations



Theo Menon

Waves of nationalism have swept the globe in 2016.

Anti-liberal/conservative politicians from across the globe have seen big victories in local and federal elections. In the United Kingdom, the people narrowly voted to leave the European Union (EU) in an occurrence deemed, “Brexit.” Anti-E.U. sentiment has hit several other nations hard: Eurosceptic parties in France, the Netherlands, and Italy now lead the polls for their nations’ next general elections. Although the United States is not a member of the European Union, some people are using this rise in nationalism as a catalyst to spark change here.

The United States prides itself on liberty and freedom. Many people within the country celebrated the success of the Brexit campaign in the UK, which led Congressman Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) to introduce legislation for removing the United States from the United Nations (UN). Massie dubbed this legislation an “Amerexit,” but to try to compare the United Nations to the European Union is irresponsible, inaccurate, and unfair to both institutions.

The EU is a massive pseudo-democratic nation comprising an elected 751-member parliament, the European Council consisting of heads of state for each member, a Council of Minister which carries out laws, and Committee headed by the President of the European Commission (the head of government of the EU). The United Nations is very different from the EU; its representatives are not elected, but rather appointed by the governments of the member states.

Only actions taken by the U.N.’s 15-member Security Council have any binding force. Its power is strictly limited to deploying UN Peacekeepers, creating international sanctions, and authorizing military operations. The Security Council is comprised of 11 rotating seats and five permanent members. The permanent members are the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Russia, and France. These members have full veto power over the Security Council.

To be blunt, the United Nations can only make binding decisions with direct permission from the United States and the other four permanent members. This rule essentially demands that decisions be made unanimously. If the United States leaves the United Nations, we lose all of this authority. Leaving could put us and our allies, specifically Israel, at risk of further attacks from the UN, such as the one addressed in the article by Maddy Dibble.

The United States can defund the UN to punish them for the resolution; however, to leave the UN is pointless and dangerous. The U.N. can work again under the right guidance, with U.S. leadership and western direction. Under impending President Donald Trump (who has said the UN has “great potential” but needs reform) and his Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, the United States can make the United Nations great again.